From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
There was tension at the weekend in Kasuwan Barci, Tudun Wada area of Kaduna metropolis as shop owners trooped to the street, asking the State governor, Nasir El-rufai to obey court order by paying them compensation over their demolished shops and markets.
Their protest followed an order by Kaduna State High Court to the state government that each of the shop owners in Kasuwan Barci be reinstated back into the market.
To this end, the affected shop owners called on the government to respect the constituted authority by obeying the court order.
However, as the traders were set for peaceful protest, police told them that, “there is an order from above to stop the protest”.
Consequently, some officers and men of the Police force who were at the scene of the protest immediately dispersed the shop owners from addressing their members and the press.
Our Correspondent who witnessed the protest, noted that the Police pulled down all the canopies arranged for the event along Kasuwan Barci axis of Dutsima road, Tudun Wada.
This led to serious confrontation with the sister security agency; the Kaduna State Vigilante Service (KADVIS),who had earlier given security cover to the traders.
The police resorted to teargassing the crowd in a show of superiority, but few hours later, the shop owners regrouped and addressed the press.
Recalled that the court had on the 28th September, 2022 given judgement in favour of the Plaintiffs (shop owners), instructing the Kaduna state government that the shop owners be adequately compensated.
The state government had taken over the market and subsequently demolished the old structure of the market sometimes in March, 2020, while about 4,600 shop owners were affected.
The traders of the Kasuwan Barci and Raga markets all within the Kaduna metropolis being dissatisfied by the action of the state government approached the court to interpret the extent of the powers of the state government over the markets.
However, the presiding judge, Justice A. Edward Andow, in his judgement on the above mentioned date, pronounced that the Kaduna state government lacks the constitutional powers to unilaterally takeover the Kasuwan Barci market in the way and manner it did.
“The Kaduna State government is in breach of the constitutional provision vesting the creation and operation of markets in the local govts by usurping and arrogating to itself the clear powers and function of the local government,” the court ruling stated.
In jubilation of the court order, the shop owners flooded the street of Kaduna state at the weekend, urging the government not to deny them of their right as pronounced by the court.
The Chairman, Shop Owners, Alhaji Abdullahi Maikano Kaya-kaya, while addressing the press, explained that after receiving the vacation notice, the shop owners sought audience with the state Governor, Nasir El-Rufai which was granted but, they could not reach any agreement
He however, explained that they ( the shop owners ) pleaded with the Governor to either allow them build the shops themselves by using the authorized government building plan or give them another space to relocate, pending when government would rebuild the shops since the Governor promised returning the shops to the real owners.
The Chairman added that government refused the proposal of the shop owners, hence their decision to proceed to court.
“As shop owners, up until the Kasuwan bacci market was demolished, we were up to date with revenue payment. Kasuwan bacci is a market that is fully managed by shop owners because all the shops in the market were built by individuals unlike the other market like; Abubakar Gumi and Veterinary markets that were built and leased out by Kaduna state government.
“Our expectations of government was that, since she is aware that we built our shops ourselves on the land given to us by government, they should have either relocated the market or have adequately compensated us but instead, they ignored us and went ahead to demolish the shops.
“It is our prayer that Kaduna state government will respect this judgement by reinstating us back into the market and compensate us accordingly especially because, many shop owners have died, some are sick, while a few have relocated to other towns due to the demolition,” Alhaji Kaya-kaya explained.